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The modern world has seen hundreds of football, baseball, and basketball players over the years, but only a small handful of gladiators. American Gladiators, to be exact, wowed audiences throughout the 1980s and 1990s not just because it was a game show that prided itself on showcasing raw athleticism, but because of the sheer charisma of the show’s titular Gladiators. And today is a sad day for fans of the cult series, as one of the American Gladiators greats, Lee Reherman, has passed away.
According to Variety, Lee Reherman – also known as Hawk to fans of American Gladiators – was found dead at his home in Los Angeles at the age of 49. Those close to Reherman have voiced their utter shock at the athlete’s death, describing him as seemingly in good health prior to his passing. However, the report indicates that Reherman had undergone hip surgery only a couple of months ago, and had not felt well over the last few days. There’s no indication as to whether or not these facts had anything to do with his tragic passing, but more information will likely be revealed following an autopsy.
A former college football player, Lee Reherman’s Hollywood career began after he failed to make it onto the roster of the Miami Dolphins. Following a series of bit parts, the musclebound Reherman finally had his big break by joining the roster of titular badasses on the cult classic NBC series American Gladiators. The show has become legendary for the way in which it pitted average, everyday people up against finely-tuned athletes in a series of semi-gladiatorial events. It’s the sort of job that required seemingly endless amounts of charisma in addition to muscles, and Lee Reherman pulled it off beautifully every single time.
Following the cancellation of American Gladiators, Lee Reherman proved himself as one of the few Gladiators to maintain a consistent Hollywood career. (Think of him as the original Gina Carano, who similarly developed a strong Hollywood resume following her own stint on the American Gladiators revival.) Reherman would go on to play parts in TV series such as Jane the Virgin, The X-Files, and That’s So Raven. His success even garnered him hosting duties on shows such as Hot Rod TV and Forza Motorsport Showdown. On the silver screen, he similarly garnered consistent, small parts in major Hollywood films such as Star Trek: Into Darkness. Basically, the guy had no problem stretching his muscles across myriad genres and mediums.
A bit-part actor of the highest order and an all-around walking piece of muscle, Lee Reherman will be missed by any and all who have a penchant for on-screen machismo. We here at CinemaBlend send our thoughts and condolences to Reherman's family and friends, and we will bring you any pertinent details related to his passing as they become available.